Do You Qualify? How To Apply For Disability Benefits in 2020

The above is a picture of a man in a wheelchair sitting at a desk with a second man in discussion. 

Do You Qualify? How To Apply For Disability Benefits

Did you know that 61 million adults in the United States live with some kind of disability? That only includes those who identify with it; there are more who may not yet know. 

Of those, many qualify for disability benefits from the United States government. Do you think you might qualify? 

There are a few hurdles in the process of receiving disability benefits, but if you're someone who really needs them, you might be in luck. 

If you're not currently receiving benefits and you think that you might qualify, keep reading to learn a few helpful things about the application and qualification process.

Who Gets Disability Benefits?

First, let's talk about who qualifies on a broad scale. 

Disability benefits typically go to people who are unable to work due to a disability or medical condition (mental or physical) that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

As federal disability benefits come from social security, you do need some form of work history to receive them. Your age will dictate the amount of time that you will have needed to have worked before requesting benefits to receive them. This time will grant you social security credits

Without adequate social security credits, there isn't money for you to get disability benefits. There are other funds that you can look into, but they won't be federal.

There are special conditions that can go around this issue, for example, if someone is disabled from birth. In this case, this person is likely to rely on social security benefits from their parents or guardians.

How Does the Government Decide Who Can Qualify?

It might seem unfair that the government gets to decide whether or not you're a person with a disability. What they're really deciding, though, is if you're able to work and safely provide for yourself.

They don't always get it right, but they have a few general guidelines to go off of.

Are You Working?

This is the first one, and perhaps the most crucial in the eyes of the government when it comes to whether or not you will receive benefits. 

If you have a job that only brings in a small amount of money, you may still qualify. If you make more than $1,260 per month, though, you likely will not. 

This may seem like a low number, but even if you're making that much or slightly above, you can apply for other assistance programs. 

Is Your Condition on "The List"

There's actually a list of medical conditions that are considered disabilities by the government. 

Plenty of things qualify, and they're broken down by parts of the body or system. The parts that can be considered are:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Special senses and speech
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Digestive conditions 
  • Genitourinary conditions
  • Hematological disorders
  • Skin disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Congenital disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Mental disorders
  • Cancers
  • Immune system disorders

Within each of these categories are several subcategories, so many conditions are covered. If yours is not, you may need to make an appeal to convince the government that your condition, while not normally a disability, is severe enough to be considered one in this circumstance. 

Is Your Condition Severe? 

For a condition to qualify as a disability, it needs to actually limit you. This may seem redundant to someone who's suffering, but the government wants to know that it's specifically limiting you in the workplace. 

You need to have limited strength, mobility, memory, or other dexterity in order to be considered disabled.

Can You Do Your Work (Or Another Kind of Work)?

The federal government would prefer that you support yourself and work if you are able. For this reason, they carefully examine your case to discern if you can actually continue working.

Sometimes, this work will require a workplace to make adjustments or accommodations for you. Other times, it may require different work altogether. 

If they discover that it's not feasible for you to continue working, you will be considered disabled to the federal government. 

How Do I Apply? 

If all of this sounds like you and you seem to fit the requirements, you can apply for disability. 

There is a list of required materials and information that you're going to need to gather for your application. 

These include, but are not limited to birth certificates or proof of identity, W-2 forms, marriage or divorce papers, and any medical documentation that can help your case.

It's now incredibly easy to send your application online through the Social Security government website. This is especially convenient for anyone who has a disability that includes mobility issues. You never have to visit the social security office.

You will be contacted when the government receives your application to let you know that everything made its way there.  You will be contacted again shortly after if the government requires any further information, or if they have any extra benefits to offer you (such as family benefits). You will then be told their decision.

Overall, the process is very simple when you do it online. 

Are Disability Benefits in Your Future?

Many people qualify for disability benefits but never seek them out for fear of being rejected. If you think that you might qualify for government assistance because of your disability, it can do no harm to apply for benefits. The worst that can happen is rejection. 

The application process is simple and can be done from the comfort of your living room. It's easier than ever to get the help that you need. 

We want to help everyone reach their full potential. To see if there's a disability-friendly job in your area that's right for you, visit our site